Yoko’s stolen camera

Yoko’s stolen camera: John and Paul in the EMI studio, probably 21 July, 1969.

In the summer of 1969, John and Yoko had been in a car accident while in Scotland, and the doctor had ordered Yoko to stay in bed for some time. The others could not believe their own eyes when, on July 9, John and Yoko turned up in the studio with a big bed for Yoko to rest in. The above pictured photo is from one of the sessions for the Abbey Road album, and the photo was taken from Yoko’s point of view.

Yoko’s stolen camera: John and Paul in the studio

This and many more photos were from a film roll in Yoko Ono’s camera, which was stolen in 1969.  Ever since then, the photos have circulated among the girls who stole the camera, and one of them eventually sold the photos to a British tabloid newspaper, the Daily Mirror in the nineties. After that, the photos have been published many places on the internet, in social media groups and in Beatles fanzines. Very often, one or two of the photos are published somewhere without the back story, which leads to lots of speculations. Well, just point to this article!

Other photos from the film roll show Yoko, Pattie Harrison and Linda McCartney in the same bed.

From Yoko’s stolen film roll: Pattie, Mal, Linda and Yoko

For the next several weeks, Yoko practically lived in that bed. John even requested a microphone to be set up for her so that he could hear her through the headphones.

Yoko’s stolen camera: John in the studio

Yoko’s stolen camera: Yoko in bed

Yoko’s stolen camera: Yoko in bed in EMI studio 3

One day, Yoko Ono had gained some strength and jumped out of her “sick bed” to nick one of George Harrison’s biscuits from a packet he had put on his guitar amplifier.  Harrison made it clear that Yoko had crossed the line, to put it mildly, and an argument broke out between him and Lennon. Fortunately it died out pretty quickly.

Yoko’s stolen camera: Yoko in bed

Yoko’s stolen camera: Paul McCartney, producer George Martin, engineer Phil McDonald and John Lennon in the control room.

Yoko’s stolen camera: Paul in the control room

There are also some photos of the Beatles in a movie theatre the day before, enjoying a preview of an early cut of the “Let It Be” film, plus photos from a dinner party after the screening, attended by John and Yoko, Peter Brown, Paul and Linda, with Michael Lindsay-Hogg and his girlfriend at the time, actress Jean Marsh.

Yoko’s stolen camera: “Let It Be” preview screening.

Yoko’s stolen camera: George and his father at the “Let It Be” preview screening.

Sunday, July 20, 1969, a rough cut of the “Let It Be” film was screened for The Beatles. All four Beatles were present, John with Yoko, Paul with Linda, George with Pattie and his parents, plus Terry Doran.

Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg recalled that this version was about an hour longer than the released version. The day after, he was asked for a change:

Are you happy with the movie?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Some of it.

How so?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: It’s hard when your stars are your producers. And there were four of them. […] A lot I liked got cut out. […] I had to cut out half an hour of John and Yoko, really interesting stuff.


Michael Lindsay-Hogg: We’d had a screening, they all were there, and the next day I got a call from Peter Brown to say it would probably be a good idea to cut the John and Yoko. I asked why. ‘Let me put it this way,’ he said, ‘I’ve had three calls this morning to say it should come out.’”

From “Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond” by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Yoko’s stolen camera: At the “Let It Be” preview screening.

Yoko’s stolen camera: At the “Let It Be” preview screening.

Yoko’s stolen camera: At the “Let It Be” preview screening.

Yoko’s stolen camera: At the “Let It Be” preview screening. When Yoko is in these photos, they are taken by someone else but with Yoko’s camera.

Yoko’s stolen camera: Dinner after the “Let It Be” preview screening.

While the Lennons and McCartneys went to dinner, George and his father stayed up that night to watch the Apollo 11 lunar landing. As did your’s truly!

Yoko’s stolen camera: John and Yoko at the dinner

Yoko’s stolen camera: Linda and Yoko at the dinner.

Yoko’s stolen camera: Yoko and Linda

After the dinner party, some more photos were taken in the car on the ride home and in bed when they got home.

Yoko’s stolen camera: John in the Rolls Royce on the way home.

Yoko’s stolen camera: A selfie in the Rolls Royce.

Yoko’s stolen camera: A selfie of John and Yoko in bed at home.

The two most controversial photos from this film roll and possibly the biggest payoffs to the people who stole the camera were nude photos of John Lennon. Here’s how one of these were depicted in the British tabloid Daily Mirror:

Yoko’s stolen camera: As published by the Daily Mirror.

The newspaper posted some of the photos which we have used in this article, although some were cropped edits of the original frames. Also in the paper were both Lennon nudes, although censored.

2 Responses

  1. Rickenbacker620 says:

    I wonder where the extended cut of Let it Be is today….

  2. Steve Mueller says:

    I believe Peter Jackson commented that he found all or some of this was saved on a reel. It’s out there… I’m guessing some of the outtakes may have been the Jan 10th jam after George leaves, And the other Jam session at Apple studios.

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